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Excalibur Las Vegas

Author: Stuart Mendelson

The Excalibur is one of three strikes by MGM Resorts International in its attempt to hit a home run by bringing children to Sin City.

In theory, the idea was a good one -- make a hotel attractive to families and the parents who would otherwise go to somewhere like Disney Land would instead take their kiddies to Vegas and let them enjoy themselves while Mom and Dad dump their money into the slots. The first hotel built along these lines was Circus Circus in 1968. It was followed by Excalibur in 1990 and MGM Grand in 1993.

The problem is that what is great in theory turned out to be a failure in reality. Apparently parents who were responsible enough to spend their vacations with their children did not want them hanging around the Las Vegas Strip any more than they would want them surfing even the best online casinos.

Circus Circus is, today, a complete dump. MGM Resorts International doesn't even make a pretense of attempting to make it a reasonable hotel in which to stay. It took the opposite tack with the MGM Grand -- it renovated it to make it an adult hotel as far as decor is concerned. The rooms, which had once been based on the movie "The Wizard of Oz" no longer has a hint of the Cowardly Lion or the Tin Man without a heart.

Excalibur, however, doesn't seem to know what to do. It was designed as a magical multi-colored castle from Camelot and it would be prohibitively expensive to redesign it -- even if MGM were to hit a super progressive jackpot on a bet made with money from one of the best gambling bonuses.

On the other hand, it knows it cannot attract many adult gamblers by making believe that it is a reincarnation of King Arthur's Round Table.

It it is therefore walking a tightrope. On one hand, it has both a theater for medieval jousts (as do a number of cities in the US) and a small penny arcade for children -- which is generally empty. On the other hand, it offers very adult entertainment -- such as "Thunder from Down Under", an Australian version of the male stripper group, "Chippendales".

Personally, I will pass on both the arcade and the strippers and, should I find myself walking around Camelot, keep to the slots and the tables.